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Pinus coulteri

Pinus coulteri - Coulter pine, Bigcone pine, Pitch pine
  • Pinus coulteri - Coulter pine, Bigcone pine, Pitch pine - Click to enlarge
  • Pinus coulteri branches - Click to enlarge
  • Pinus coulteri leaves - Click to enlarge


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Product Information

Scientific name: Pinus coulteri D.Don  1837

Synonyms: Pinus macrocarpa Lindl.

Common names: Bigcone pine, Coulter pine, Pitch pine



Tree to 20(-25) m tall, with trunk to 0.8(-1) m in diameter. Bark dark brown to dark grayish brown, with interlacing vertical ridges divided by deep, darker furrows. Crown broadly conical, with numerous long, slender, gently upwardly arching branches, turning up and densely clothed with foliage at the tips. Twigs stout, reddish brown beneath a bluish white coating of wax, roughened by the bases of scale leaves. Buds 1.5-3(-4) cm long, resinous. Needles in bundles of three, each needle (15-)20-30 cm long, stiff and straight, lasting 3-4 years, light grayish green. Individual needles with obvious white lines of stomates on all three faces, a two-stranded midvein, and 2-10 resin canals around the midvein deep within the leaf tissue. Sheath 2-4 cm long, persisting and falling with the bundle. Pollen cones 20-25 mm long, dark yellowish brown. Seed cones 20-30(-35) cm long, egg-shaped, massive, with 120-140 seed scales, yellowish green before maturity, ripening yellowish brown to light brown, opening widely to release the seeds but then sometimes persisting several years before falling, leaving behind a few basal seed scales on the thick, persistent stalk to 3 cm long. Seed scales very thick and woody, diamond-shaped, the exposed portion forming a thick, protruding, triangular boss continuing into the long, heavy, curved, clawlike umbo. Seed body (10-)12-18(-22) mm long, uniformly dark brown, the easily detachable wing 18-30 mm long.

Scattered from west-central California to northern Baja California. Most commonly mixed with lower montane and woodland trees and chaparral shrubs on dry sites in foothills and mountains; (300-)900-1,800(-2,150) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened

(Pinus coulteri has a limited area of occupancy. It may also be adversely affected by fire management policies. Although there are no data to quantify a rate of decline in the past or present, it is inferred that continuous and/or increased suppression of forest fires will in the long term lead to such a decline. It is therefore appropriate to flag this species as Near Threatened, while closer monitoring is required)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.


Rootstock: Pinus ponderosa

Product CodePINAAIF299
Weight3 kg
Height20 - 25 cm

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